IT project managers play vital roles in carrying out IT-related tasks, often overseeing those projects from start to finish. Along the way, these professionals may assemble skilled teams and necessary resources. Other duties often include setting up time schedules, establishing deadlines, and outlining short- and long-term goals. Of course, negotiating budgets, allocating resources, preparing proposals, working with business peers, and attending meetings are additional aspects to this exciting career. Many aspiring professionals, today, are interested in pursuing a path that leads to the job title of “IT Project Manager.”
Plan an Academic and Career Path
The first step toward achieving this goal is to establish the necessary requirements in both education and experience. Naturally, a bachelor’s degree is required, and a master’s degree is even better. The degree should be in IT project management, information technology, or computer science. Some hiring managers may also consider applicants with related degrees.
The specific work experiences that lead to this management position vary, but those who hope to become managers should expect to spend several years working toward the position. Fortunately, there are many reputable sources for free IT Project Manager career path and coaching content that may help point students and young professionals in the right direction.
Seek Appropriate Work Opportunities
While many career paths could lead to opportunities as IT project managers, the positions most likely to lead to the job are within the field of information technology. Employers generally look for candidates with the necessary academic background and those who have worked in IT, on other projects, and in supervisory positions. Candidates should plan to spend about three to five years in this part of their career path.
Continue Academic and Career Training
Once a job seeker has completed a bachelor’s or master’s degree and gained employment in the right field, the candidate should continue to participate in training that either furthers academic accomplishments or gives concrete evidence of employment aptitude. For example, working toward that master’s degree or earning project management certifications improve the candidate’s chances of performing well in the current position and puts the candidate in the right position to be recognized for advancement. It’s best to identify continuing education courses that boost skills and opportunities within the IT field.
Establish a Professional Network
Networking is a critical component of advancement in just about any career path. A professional network provides a useful exchange of information, an increase of resources and cooperative relationships with peers, and access to opportunity leads. There are many ways to establish these helpful networks, including meeting up with peers on a one-to-one basis, becoming a mentor or working with a mentor, and engaging cooperatively in meetings. Of course, there are some positive networking habits that can boost the effectiveness of resources.
Prepare for Job Interviews
After completing the appropriate schooling and establishing the necessary work history, those individuals who hope to become project managers should perfect their resumes and brush up on their interviewing skills. This work may include gathering examples that display organizational and prioritization skills, preparing stories about resolving conflicts among stakeholders, including scenarios involving project failures, and planning descriptions of the preferred project management process.